Policy ACAF-LIB-004

Responsible University Administrator:Provost
Responsible Officer:Dean of University Libraries
Origination Date:N/A
Current Revision Date:12/04/12
Next Review Date:12/04/16
End of Policy Date:N/A
Policy Number:ACAF-LIB-004



PDF Version


Policy Statement


University Libraries’ Circulation Policy governs the use of library materials in Cook Library, McCain Library and Archives, Gulf Coast Library, and Gunter Library.


Each borrower assumes full responsibility for all materials charged to his or her account and for knowledge of and adherence to library policies concerning loan periods and penalties.


Reason for Policy/Purpose

This policy is required for the effective communication of university policies regarding the circulation of library materials.


Who Needs to Know This Policy

All patrons of the University Libraries.


Website Address for this Policy









It is the responsibility of the current student, faculty, or staff member to maintain current name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address with the university (Office of the Registrar and Department of Human Resources) and University Libraries. Community borrowers must supply current contact information upon registration as a library borrower. Please check with personnel at the circulation desk of any library to update this information with University Libraries.




Identification is required for circulation privileges according to the following categories:


  • University Borrowers: University issued identification card


  • Community Borrowers: Current alumni card, retired faculty and staff identification card, friends of the library card, special programs and nontraditional studies verification card, temporary university personnel card, or reciprocal agreement borrowers card




Consistent with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and Mississippi Code 39-3-365, University Libraries does not release personal information to a third party, or by telephone, without prior written consent.




Collections in Cook Library and the Gulf Coast Libraries can be checked out according to the following item limits.



25 items at any given time


50 items at any given time


100 items at any given time

Community Borrowers

5 items at any given time




Materials from the following collections cannot be checked out:

(Alphabetized list)

  • Archives 
  • de Grummond
  • Law series
  • Microforms
  • Mississippiana
  • Periodicals (unbound)
  • Ready Reference
  • Special Collections




Circulating materials have the following loan periods:



General Collection

Reference materials, and atlases

Bound Journals

Media and video equipment

Education Resources Materials


Permanent Employees

180 days

1 day

3 days

14 days

14 days

Graduate Students

120 days

1 day

3 days

14 days

14 days

Undergraduate Students

30 days

1 day

3 days

14 days

14 days

Community Borrowers

30 days



14 days

14 days



Video equipment


VHS and DVD equipment is available for check out from the Circulation Desk for a two-week loan period.


Dry-erase board markers


Cook Library circulates dry-erase board markers to be used in group study rooms from the Circulation Desk. They are due by closing of the day they are checked out.




It is the responsibility of the borrower to return materials on or before the due date/time. The due date receipt that is emailed at the time of checkout constitutes formal notification of due date. Usage agreements are signed by the patron when checking out equipment, which is formal notification of the due date/time. Notice of overdue materials is provided only as a courtesy.


For faculty, staff, and students, all library notifications are sent via email to the official university e-mail address. The email address, email user name and initial password are available from iTech. If borrowers wish to use an email address other than the usm.edu email address, instructions to forward messages are available from the iTech website. Community borrowers must supply email addresses at the time of registration in order to receive notifications.


For online renewals, the online notification of the new due date constitutes formal notification. It is recommended that the borrower write the new due date on the due date slip provided in the item.




There is no limit on the number of times an item may be renewed on site, provided a hold has not been placed by another borrower. To be renewed, both the item and borrower identification must be presented in person by the borrower.


General circulating items may be renewed two times through the online catalog. Online renewals may occur within 7 days prior to the due date for materials from the general collection. Media and Curriculum materials may be renewed online within 3 days prior to the due date.


Online renewals are not available for reference materials, atlases, bound journals, or equipment.




Holds may be placed on any general circulating material by clicking on the “Request It” link in the item record in the library catalog, or in person at the Circulation Desk at Cook Library, Gulf Coast Library, and Gunter Library. Hold may also be placed at the circulation desk of any University Libraries location. Holds are not available for reference materials, atlases, bound periodicals, or equipment.




Due dates for recalled materials will be revised as follows:


  • Materials to be placed on reserve for class assignments are subject to immediate recall.
  • All Cook Library, Gulf Coast Library, and Gunter Library materials for which hold requests have been made are subject to recall after 14 days of circulation, regardless of the original due date and category of the borrower.
  • Recalls cannot be placed on items with the loan period less than 15 days.


Unreturned recalled materials are subject to fines and/or suspension of borrowing privileges, based upon the revised due date. Failure to comply with request for recalled materials will result in suspension of borrowing privileges.




Print materials may be returned to the circulation desks or book drops at all libraries.


Non-print materials (to include but not limited to: VHS, DVD, CD, kits) should be returned to a library service desk.





Overdue fines - All borrowers are subject to fines for items returned after the date due. Fines for general circulating materials are calculated at twenty-five cents ($.25) per day, per item, for each day the library is open. Items with a circulation period of 30 days or more have a 7-day grace period. Items with a 14-day circulation period have a 2-day grace period. Items with less than a 14-day circulation period do not have a grace period. During the grace period, no fines will be assessed on items returned; however, on subsequent days, fines will be assessed for all days following the due date. Maximum fines assessed will be $50.00 per item.


Fines for overdue recalled materials, reference materials, atlases, and bound periodicals are calculated at $1.00 per day, per item, for each day the library is open. Maximum fines assessed will be $100.00 per item.


Fines for overdue recalled materials, reference materials, atlases, and bound periodicals are calculated at $1.00 per day, per item, for each day the library is open. Maximum fines assessed will be $100.00 per item.


Fines for video equipment and dry-erase board markers are calculated at $5 a day, with a maximum fine of $50.00.


Interlibrary Loan services are dependent on cooperation with other institutions. Fines for overdue interlibrary loan items are calculated at $2 a day, per item. Maximum fines are $100.00.


Returned checks

A $30.00 fee will be assessed for returned checks.




When five items are kept beyond their date dues, library charges exceed $20.00, or a patron is over the checkout item limit the borrower’s record will be flagged as delinquent. Delinquent borrowers will not be allowed to check out additional materials or renew materials online until overdue items are returned and charges are cleared.




Charges for damaged items are determined and assessed by University Libraries’ personnel based on the extent of damage and the format. Extensive damage may require full replacement charges of item.



Library materials declared lost or kept at least 42 days beyond the due date will be billed replacement charges as follows:



Items still available:

  • list price,
  • $25 non-refundable billing fee, and
  • $50 processing fee

Items no longer available:

  • original purchase price if known or default replacement price of $50.00,
  • $25 non-refundable billing fee, and
  • $50 processing fee


Borrowing privileges will be suspended until payment is received for lost library materials.




All legitimate objections related to library charges will be considered. Forms are available at the circulation desk of each University Libraries location or online. Problems that do not constitute a legitimate basis for appeal are:


  • Lack of knowledge of library policy
  • Lack of understanding of library policy
  • Disagreement with library policy
  • Inability to pay fines and charges
  • Failure to receive an overdue notice
  • Unwillingness to take responsibility for materials loaned to a third party, for example, loaning materials charged to you to a classmate, family member, faculty member, etc.




Lost library materials returned within six months of charge are eligible for credit of the replacement and processing fee.



The Dean of University Libraries is responsible for the review of this policy every four years (or whenever circumstances require immediate review).



Library charge appeal forms available at the circulation desks or online at http://www.lib.usm.edu/services/forms/appeal_charges.html





Related Information

Mississippi Code 39-3-365 can be found at the following website:



iTech website located at http://eduprod.usm.edu/itech



Amendments: Month, Day, Year – summary of changes

12/01/10: Revised

11/01/11: Formatted for Institutional Policies website

11/01/12: Updated

02/18/13: Formatted for template. Minor editing throughout.

12/05/13: Policy Revised